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The college allows two formats for documentation of dissertation work: a formal, traditional dissertation (written comprehensive report) or three peer-reviewed papers published, submitted, or to be submitted within archival professional journals with the requirement for a formal summary report to also be drafted to provide some formal documentation.

Peer-Reviewed Paper Substitution in Place of a Formal Traditional Written Dissertation

Allowed peer-reviewed papers to replace all but the introduction, commercialization section, bibliography, and conclusion sections. The major professor is encouraged to require a raw data appendix for records keeping; however, this is a suggestion but not a requirement.

  • The major professor, graduate committee, department head, and program coordinator must all approve of the journal prior to paper submittal.
  • “Published” is defined as the authors providing to both the department graduate coordinator and the program coordinator written evidence that the paper has been fully accepted into an acceptable journal (defined later). Letters indicating “submitted”, “under review”, “rejection with encouragement to resubmit”, or “letters of invitation to submit” are not acceptable as evidence of meeting the accepted criterion.
  • The contents of at least two of the three papers must be exclusive taken from the body of research considered as part of the dissertation body of work and thus truly work done by the student. The third paper can be a “state of the art” summary paper (basically the literature search component of the dissertation) that directly related to the dissertation topic. The graduate committee all must sign the Dissertation Publication Substitution Form provided by the college indicating that they agree that the papers proposed as being part of the dissertation are indeed of appropriate content. A unanimous agreement of the committee is required with any issues pertaining to this requirement taken to the PhD grievance committee by the program coordinator.
  • The journal where the papers will be published must be approved by the graduate committee (via a formal majority vote), department head, and the program coordinator prior to submission of the paper to be considered as one of the three papers.
  • The journals are expected to be of high quality that are germaine to the dissertation topic. For the departments of civil, chemical, electrical and computer engineering, and mechanical engineering, the journal must have an impact factor of at least 1 to be considered acceptable. Petroleum engineering students can publish in journals from their field within journals having impact factors of at least 0.75 due to their relative size of their publication ecology as compared to the other engineering disciplines. Selected journals are expected to be of notable reputation, fully-peer reviewed by a “peer group” and not an editor, have recently or currently do print in paper format, and have been in existence over 5 years prior the time of submittal.
  • The student must be the primary or secondary author (in this case, the major professor must be the primary author and not another graduate student).
  • Approval for the targeted journal for potential submittal must go through the approval process. It is strongly suggested that approval by all required parties are obtained prior to paper submission.
  • The major professor must submit a signed memorandum to the program coordinator stating that the research constituting the basis for the paper is from the student’s research work and that the student did the majority of the work toward the drafting of the paper.

Commercialization Chapter

Every dissertation must have a chapter that takes the technological break-through of the student research and details how this advancement(s) is envisioned to impact the applied aspects of the engineering field. Hence, it will address both economic, market, and technical aspects of how the results should be incorporated into the overall engineering body of knowledge.

The Commercialization Chapter should be of at least 2,000 words in length. The chapter should address at least the following topics: market viability; envisioned market; impact to the engineering community; economic evaluation of product/process; market challenges; further development required to increase market viability; and potential competitors.

Submittal Deadlines

Submittal of the dissertation and components of the comprehensive exam (inclusive of the powerpoint presentation) must be submitted for review to the committee no later than 14 calendar days prior to the defense with no exceptions allowed. The documents and powerpoint presentation should not be significantly modified while they are under review. The intent of the formal submittal is that the document and/or presentation were ready for review and not submitted to meet deadlines.